Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead directed and star in “The Countless,” which wows even with — and maybe, partly, due to — its low finances. Declared “a mind-bending Möbius strip of a film” by The Guardian’s Wendy Ide, and boasting quiet surrealism and gradual, ever-growing dread, this can be a darkish story of two brothers, who return to Camp Arcadia, a commune described as a “UFO dying cult.” “The Countless” affords horror fans a character-oriented movie filled with wealthy and haunting world lore, intelligent sensible results, and lingering nightmare fodder that facilities on the fractured bond between the protecting — and secretive — Justin and the naïve and resentful Aaron.
However essentially the most fascinating factor about “The Countless” is that for the primary chunk of its run, it guarantees to be a slow-burning social thriller earlier than subverting expectations. It pivots to develop into as an alternative an unsettling cosmic horror a couple of sadistic entity that — on account of its insatiable starvation for tales — has successfully imprisoned the people unlucky sufficient to wander into its rural area.
For the viewing pleasure of the equally insatiable “Countless” fan, we have compiled an inventory of 15 like-minded films, which embrace terrifying time loop tales, tales of paradoxes and doppelgängers, sharp meta-horror, disquieting social and psychological thrillers, sinister cult narratives, and apocalyptic Lovecraftian horrors.
Michael and Chris sit dealing with every otherTribeca Movie/Cinedigm
Primarily a prequel to “The Countless,” Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s “Decision” takes place in the identical distant space of California, the place graphic designer Michael is lured into the woods after seeing a video exhibiting his finest good friend — the drug-addicted Chris — rising more and more erratic. After discovering his depressed and fatalistic good friend residing in a partially-constructed home (squatting on reservation land, because it occurs), Michael decides to assist Chris via a chilly turkey detox proper then and there. As if the withdrawal expertise weren’t tough sufficient, issues solely get extra nightmarish for the pair: A tribal safety guard offers the buddies 5 days to vacate the premises, and Chris additionally owes two exceptionally violent drug sellers product. However what’s stranger — and extra regarding — is that somebody (or one thing) is beginning to depart pictures and movies for Michael to search out. Probably the most unsettling half? In a few of these photos, Chris and Michael are the topics.
NPR’s Ian Buckwalter commends the meta-horror points of “Decision,” likening the movie to “Cabin within the Woods” as a result of “each are vastly satisfying workout routines in analyzing the best way during which tales are advised.” And that is true. However the cause we’re launching this listing with “Decision” boils right down to the truth that it is “an ingenious, character-based story” (by way of Dread Central) that exists in the identical fictional universe as “The Countless.” What’s extra: Watching these interconnected gems back-to-back gives an enriching viewing expertise that may higher inform your understanding of every movie.
In the event you or anybody is battling habit points, assist is out there. Go to the Substance Abuse and Psychological Well being Providers Administration web site or contact SAMHSA’s Nationwide Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Shade Out of House (2019)
Lavinia smilesRLJE Movies
Primarily based on H.P. Lovecraft’s brief story and starring Nicolas Cage, the violent and vibrant “Shade Out of House” could seem a little bit at odds with the quiet unease and simmering dread of “The Countless,” however loads of Redditors will let you know in the event you’re a fan of 1, you will doubtless be a fan of the opposite. In truth, in response to consumer u/fozrok’s request for different good horror akin to “Shade Out of House” — which they describe as “a country-set & household oriented ‘The Factor'” — a couple of commenters level straight to “The Countless.” All three of those movies have interaction with Lovecraftian cosmic terrors, in spite of everything.
In “Shade Out of House,” Nathan (Cage) relocates his household to his father’s farm after his spouse will get a mastectomy, just for a meteor from outer area to crash into their yard, distorting actuality across the property and throwing their lives into horrific chaos. Determined to avoid wasting her family members from the grotesque struggling that is befallen them, daughter Lavinia (Madeleine Arthur) turns to a model of the Necronomicon for solutions. However it’s the Necronomicon, so … you possibly can in all probability guess what occurs.
Although not fairly as intelligent as “The Countless” — and whereas a lot gorier — BFI’s Kim Newman believes “Shade out of House” is “virtually low-key in its accumulation of dread, [and works] steadily in direction of a mini-apocalypse for one nuclear household.” We would argue that the members of Camp Arcadia in “The Countless,” together with the opposite of us caught within the monster’s area are — once they close to the top of their loops — experiencing their very own mini-apocalypses, too.
Jess and man involved in hallwayIcon Movie Distribution/YouTube
“Triangle” is a tense and unsettling psychological horror movie that follows single mom Jess (Melissa George), as she decides to take a time off from caring for her younger autistic son Tommy (Joshua McIvor) and take him crusing with some buddies. That morning, nevertheless, Jess arrives on the dock alone, and tells her good friend Victor (Liam Hemsworth) that Tommy is in school, despite the fact that it is Saturday. Issues take a good stranger flip later when the group receives a misery name proper earlier than a storm capsizes their yacht and leaves them stranded at sea. Their presumed salvation comes within the type of an eerily abandoned cruise ship. It is temporary aid, after all, as a result of that is when the actual terror begins. Jess quickly realizes she’s caught in a time loop and is pressured to confront different variations of herself and the others, whereas turning into more and more determined to get again to the son she left behind.
Empire’s William Thomas calls this film “A satisfying mind-twister, with an unexpectedly poignant pay-off,” whereas The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw tells us that this story “creates some actual shivers.” Like “The Countless,” “Triangle” successfully evokes gradual, simmering dread all through its 99-minute run. Presumably it is this cause — together with its time loop focus — that has Redditors like u/bryanvb taking to the boards to counsel “The Countless” to followers of “Triangle” and we wholeheartedly agree that followers of 1 will love the opposite.
Prince of Darkness (1987)
Kelly sticks arm via portalUniversal Footage
“Prince of Darkness,” the second of John Carpenter’s unofficial Apocalypse Trilogy of cosmic horror movies, follows quantum physicist Professor Howard Birack (Victor Wong) and his grad college students. At first of the movie, upon the request of a priest (Donald Pleasence), these lecturers agree to assist an order referred to as “The Brotherhood of Sleep” research and analyze a tube of inexperienced liquid dwelling within the basement of an L.A. monastery. Seems, this weird goo may simply be the bodily (and sentient) embodiment of Devil. On high of that terrifying discovery, this ill-fated group quickly learns by way of their goals that this monastery is floor zero for the looming apocalypse — that’s, except they’ll forestall the longer term devastation. This already tough job turns into near-impossible when radiologist Susan will get uncovered to, murdered, and possessed by the entity, and shortly begins going after her colleagues.
Whereas not initially well-received by critics — The Washington Submit’s Richard Harrington declared that this film “deserves to be shut up in a canister for 7 million years” — “Prince of Darkness” has gained extra reward lately (by way of Movie Faculty Rejects). These days, writers like The State Hornet’s Bradley Hinkson take into account it a “masterpiece of horror” that gives an “underlying sense of doom and dread” all through. It is that underlying dread, along with its Lovecraftian vibe, ingenious tackle cosmic (and spiritual) horror, and wealthy and expansive lore, that makes “Prince of Darkness” worthy of any “Countless” fan’s consideration.
Within the Mouth of Insanity (1994)
Trent laughsNew Line Cinema
“Within the Mouth of Insanity” begins close to the top of the story, with protagonist John Trent (Sam Neill) caught in a psychiatric hospital, the place he tells a skeptical Dr. Wrenn (David Warner) in regards to the horrors that led him to his padded jail. We flashback to insurance coverage investigator Trent getting employed to work with Arcane Publishing, whose shopper — the well-known horror novelist Sutter Cane (Jürgen Prochnow) — has simply completed his closing ebook, however has additionally gone lacking. Trent is tasked with monitoring down Cane, so he units off on this mission with Linda (Julie Carmen), Cane’s editor. As they journey to Hobb’s Finish (really considered one of Cane’s fictional settings), she reveals that a lot of Cane’s readers have been struggling weird, psychotic episodes. Principally, persons are turning into evil, murderous creatures, and the reason for all this damaging grotesquery may simply be Cane’s revealed works.
Based on Depraved Horror’s Nat Brehmer, this third film in John Carpenter’s Apocalypse Trilogy “is pure meta-horror and embraces that identification. … That is in regards to the very concept of horror, it is a cosmic horror film that appears on the style as a cosmic theme.” In that approach, it is simple to check it to each “Decision” and “The Cabin within the Woods.” However it’s the Lovecraftian insanity right here that earns it a spot on this listing. Identical to in “The Countless,” we glimpse the grand terrors, utter hopelessness, and incomprehensible struggling that historical entities from different dimensions are able to inflicting on the human race.
Emily’s face lit by shiny lightOscilloscope Laboratories
Whereas in “The Countless” Aaron and Justin finally be taught that the unusual and terrifying issues occurring in and across the cult are linked to the moons — and the ever-lurking Lovecraftian monster — the catalyst for the slow-growing terror that the Californian buddies in “Coherence” endure is Miller’s Comet. Primarily, throughout one extremely tense banquet, the comet’s passing sparks an astrological occasion that rips actuality aside. Because of this, the group comes face-to-face with their very own doppelgängers. All of this quantum chaos quickly results in a battle to outlive the night time, with the buddies’ already waning religion in one another — and possibly additionally in themselves — deteriorating.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Dalton commends James Ward Byrkit for “cleverly constructing an unsettling psycho-thriller about cosmic chaos right into a talk-heavy domestic-set movie.” That includes an ensemble forged that features Nicholas Brendon and Lorene Scafaria, and filmed in Byrkit’s own residence with much less of a script and extra of a set of tips and fundamental plot arcs for the characters, our actors predominantly improvise the narrative particulars right here, which creates a weird however magnetic tone that feels concurrently off-putting and genuine. Just like “The Countless” in its intelligent use of sensible results and its anxiety-inducing rigidity, “Coherence” is one other movie that is made all the higher due to its decrease finances. In the end, it is a darkish and imaginative mix of science fiction and horror that is worthy of any “Countless” fan.
The One I Love (2014)
Sophie grabs a knifeRADiUS-TWC
For squeamish horror fans who admire the relative lack of gore in “The Countless,” in addition to its give attention to the strained relationship between two brothers, we extremely counsel Charlie McDowell’s gore-free home thriller, “The One I Love.” Somewhat than two brothers, this narrative facilities the struggles of an embittered married couple. Prompted by their therapist — performed by the one and solely Ted Danson! — Ethan (Mark Duplass) and Sophie (Elisabeth Moss) spend a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the actual world to work on their points and attempt to restore their shattered bond. Hassle is, once they enterprise to the holiday rental their therapist has booked for them, they uncover they don’t seem to be the one ones there. What follows is a slow-burning story filled with ratcheting dread, during which our characters’ true selves are slowly revealed after they’re confronted by their very own doppelgängers.
In the end, we liken this to “The Countless” as a result of it boasts the same type of disquiet, enjoying with viewer expectations by pretending to be one type of film earlier than pivoting and presenting us with an sudden — however not unwelcome — style shift. Whereas “The Countless” offers off social thriller vibes earlier than delving into time crazy Lovecraftian insanity, “The One I Love” disguises itself as a romantic dramedy earlier than providing audiences surreal, psychological horror. On this and different methods, each depart you considering properly after the credit have rolled.
The Ritual (2017)
Good friend stand round rock shrineEntertainment One/Netflix
Primarily based on Adam Nevill’s novel of the identical identify, “The Ritual” follows a bunch of buddies, who hike Sweden’s Kungsleden to work via the grief of the dying of their good friend Rob (Paul Reid). Rob was killed throughout a theft, which has despatched Luke (Rafe Spall) right into a guilt-fueled spiral, as he struggles to deal with his disgrace round his personal actions throughout that deadly occasion. Not lengthy into their journey, Dom (Sam Troughton) hurts his knee, and the crew, in an effort to shorten their route, wades into the depths of the forest.
In the identical approach we all know Aaron and Justin venturing again to Camp Arcadia is a harmful mistake, we all know, too, that solely horrors await this group as soon as they select to chop via the woods. There, they encounter a gutted elk and foreboding tree markings, earlier than in search of refuge in an deserted cabin for the night time — the place nightmares thwart any chance for restful sleep. Within the morning, when Luke discovers regarding wounds on his chest, the group’s scenario shifts from unnerving to downright terrifying, and their probabilities of making it out alive quickly plummet.
“The Ritual” offers in cults, distant lands, and sadistic, god-like monsters, like “The Countless.” Nonetheless, as one Redditor notes in a dialogue thread, “The Ritual is a good medium-budget that has the same really feel however completely totally different concepts to ‘Decision’ and ‘The Countless.'” On high of that, based on customers like u/AlexanderTheGreatly, “the primary character develops closely all through your entire movie,” which feels contemporary for the horror style, and is bolstered by the robust appearing. Be forewarned, although: this one additionally makes the listing for creepiest Netflix films it is best to by no means watch alone.
Ansel Roth criesScreen Media Movies
In writer-director Riley Stearns’ feature-length debut “Faults” nothing appears to be understanding within the lifetime of cult professional Ansel Roth (Leland Orser). He is so strapped for money that he is making an attempt to make use of expired vouchers to eat. He is stealing towels from his lodge. He has a scrapped tv present below his belt. Even the specialist’s talking engagements are tainted failures, as the most recent one ends with a grief-stricken man blaming Roth for the dying of his cult-surviving sister and violently assaulting Roth for it. The truth that Roth’s supervisor, Terry (Jon Gries), decides to dump him as a shopper — and worse, demand he pay all his money owed again ASAP — is simply the cherry on high. Cue Evelyn (Beth Grant) and Paul (Chris Ellis), two fretting dad and mom who’ve sought Roth out to assist in “deprogramming” their brainwashed daughter, Claire (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Whereas Roth initially refuses, it does not take lengthy for his cash points and the promise of compensation to alter his thoughts. However, after all, nothing — together with Claire’s scenario — is because it appears.
In response to Redditor u/MrHavoc415’s request for films much like “The Countless,” the highest commenter suggests “Faults,” and we wholeheartedly agree with that advice. Not simply because they’re each quiet, slow-burning cult films with some haunting twists, however as a result of they’re each character-focused cult films that evoke visceral emotions of hysteria and simmering dread. Critics did not discover many faults with this movie, with IndieWire’s Eric Kohn writing that “the strongest points of ‘Faults’ stem from its utterly unpredictable environment. You may anticipate the twists earlier than they arrive, however not the best way they really feel.”